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Environmental Effects on Iowa’s Apples

The phenomena is blemishes on a Granny Smith apple, grown in Algona, Iowa, in the fall of 2022. The apple contains many blemishes on the outer skin from rubbing against sticks and leaves. These blemishes are likely caused by the environmental factors surrounding the apple. One example of an environmental factor is the wind, which likely blew the apple up against the branches creating the small brown blemishes. (Please note this apple was grown in the north central area of Iowa on a backyard tree that had very little seclusion from the wind. Therefore this likely provided a good opportunity for the apple to be influenced by its environment.)

Algona, Iowa

Driving Question

  • How do the weather conditions of Iowa affect the quality of the fruit that is grown there?

Probing Questions

  • What characteristics of the apple may have been affected by the environment?
  • What conditions do you think produced the blemishes on the apple’s skin?
  • Do you think the pattern of the blemishes tell us anything about the environment the apple was in?

Classroom Suggestions

Students could:

  • Draw a representation of what environmental factors can influence produce.
  • Test the effects of the environment by sprouting seeds with a fan near and compare it to sprouting seeds without the effects of wind.
  • Research the weather environments of Iowa and how they affect what types of produce can be grown in the state. 
  • Research how soil temperature can affect a plant’s growth. 

Relevant Related Resource

Iowa Core Alignment


Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment

Credit Info

Phenomena submitted by Addyline Witt, Emma Stewart, Rania Maki, and Wes Johnson

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